Here we go again, my friends, just like old times and just like we started – connecting in print and connected in caring about our community. It’s been a while since my incredible days as editor of The Kentucky Post, when together we saw – and helped make happen – some amazing progress for Northern Kentucky. Anybody remember the “WE HAVE IGNITION” headline in The Post when Bill Butler – after many other hits and misses – finally came to the rescue of riverfront development on our “South Side” of the river? And created a whole new front door and a long-awaited sense of pride – a renaissance truly – for the Northern Kentucky community? It was the catalyst for us to think better of ourselves and to believe all good things were possible.

The good times kept rolling on – Toyota came and transformed, while Newport blossomed on its riverfront and in its urban core. Florence and Boone County grew by leaps and bounds. Northern Kentucky University expanded and reached out to the community in important, impactful ways. Vision 2015 still focuses strategically on quality of life issues, and UpTech, BioLogic and other business innovators/incubators bring vitality, new ideas and opportunities to our marketplace. All these things we should continue to celebrate and appreciate. They matter.

Keep your eyes on one of the most visionary projects in recent times and on its visionary leader, Ed Hughes, president of Gateway Community and Technical College. His grand plan for a magnificent, expansive urban campus in Covington will fuel our next renaissance. It’s an amazing plan, life-changing for Covington and the region. So many traditional and nontraditional students’ lives will be transformed as well.

We’ll be talking about these issues and more as we go along, and I hope you’ll engage in the conversation. The more the merrier.

I’ll also be reminding you that people matter, and each one of us can make a difference.

Laura Cook Kroeger has been a real anchor in our community for a long time. She’s now vice president at Gateway and executive director of the Gateway Foundation. For several years now, Laura has been battling what she thought was multiple sclerosis. Though the progressive disease did not slow Laura down much in the real sense, she fought it everyday, began using a walker and stared a harsh reality bravely in the face.

Miracles happen. Laura fell earlier this year after experiencing difficulty with her balance and increased trouble walking. She “took a sick day” – if you know her at all, you’ll understand this – to “race” to her MS specialist (again, typical Laura). Next day, she was worse – untenable pain sent her to the ER and the Neurology wing at UC Hospital. There, she heard news she never expected: You DO NOT have MS.

Miracles happen. Laura and her husband, Bob, could not believe what they were hearing. The problem was not MS but a stress-induced muscle disease. With lots of physical therapy, Laura will be able to reverse her debilitating condition, and walk again.

“Falling was the best thing that ever happened to me,” says the unsinkable Laura. She’s determined, as always, but today it’s a very real hope she faces. Full recovery.

“This whole journey is a lesson to everyone,” she says. “Stress can get hold of any part of your body and create havoc. Because my particular muscle problem mimicked so many aspects of primary progressive multiple sclerosis, it started taking a life of its own. Now I have a new plan for the rest of my life.

“I am grateful to God for giving me a second chance and for all my friends and family who have been incredibly supportive the past two and a half years.”