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Naples Daily News Predicts Top Stories of 2009

Naples (local), Florida (state) and US (federal) People Predictions from the editors of the Naples Daily News

What's YOUR predictions? --Ken

NAPLES — Like the rest of the world, Southwest Florida will have both eyes on the economy in 2009. With that in mind, the Daily News has its focus on these dozen people to shape the news in the new year:


With the country desperately seeking an answer to the slumping economy, the president-elect has been pitching an economic stimulus deal that could trickle down locally. Government officials in both counties have started identifying construction projects that might fit into the promised $800-billion plan.


Is it just a recession or are we on the verge of a depression? The stock market most likely will not be able to survive another wild ride like ‘08. And old George might not ever be able to rebound to respectability. In the meantime, spending will come with tremendous trepidation.


The Lee and Collier school superintendents are in charge of local education’s future. But their ability to juggle finances will be put to the test in the coming year. The school districts are losing money from every revenue source. They also are losing students. This could result in the closing of schools and the elimination of any program that isn’t tied down to a state regulation or involves a football.


Will they return in 2009? The prices are certainly becoming more attractive but will buyers wait for the onslaught of foreclosures to clear, hoping to get even better bargains? Either way, Realtors wait with great anticipation with shovels in hand, hoping to dig those “For Sale” signs off of front lawns.


They got billions in a government bailout. Now, will they be giving out loans? With foreclosures commonplace for struggling homeowners, bankers’ lending habits will be closely scrutinized.


Local businesses cannot survive without them. Yet, with the disappointing dollar, will they be coming to experience Florida’s sunshine? The local economy depends on them, so the future of many businesses, especially the restaurants, will hinge on whether the tourists stay home or take flight this season.


After 20 years with Don Hunter at the helm of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Rambosk will have big shoes to fill. Crime has decreased almost every year under Hunter. For Rambosk, dealing with a budget crunch may be a tougher task than catching bad guys. On election night at her watch party at The Club House next to the Vineyards in Naples, Collier County School Board seat winner Julie Sprague makes her acceptance speech before a crowd of excited supporters. Jennifer Whitney/ staff


Collier School Board’s newest member will hope to bridge the disconnect from the classroom and the district’s administration. With 30-plus years as a teacher, most recently at Gulf Coast High School, she will bring some much-needed education experience to a board polarized by politics. Can one make a difference though?


Collier County’s manager already has warned that there may be more staffing cuts in the coming year. The county saved $2.5 million in 2008 with 51 employees accepting volunteer separation. But with a projected revenue loss of 6 percent to 10 percent, Mudd may have to handle the axe himself. A portrait of House Representative elect Tom Grady in his office in downtown Naples Thursday, September 25.


He didn’t face any opposition in replacing now-Florida Sen. Garrett Richter in a Florida House seat. He will get his first taste of the Legislature with a special session this coming week, dealing with the state’s $2.3 billion budget shortfall. He said his top three priorities are the economy.


The world gets its news from the Internet and they are the voice of the Web. They post comments. They send videos and photographs. They report the news. The New York Post says bloggers are out in 2009 but the Daily News says they will become an even greater force in journalism.
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Udut, Kenneth on Jan. 3 2009 edit · delete
New York Post may say that blogging is out -- but "Oh contrare" -- it may not be the "latest and greatest thing" ("Oh, blogging is SOOO 2005"), but it is a force to be reckoned with, just the same.

The "Early Adoptors" are always looking for the newest and latest things. Blogging is not newest or latest, but it is firmly entrenched, as is "microblogging" (twitter) and social networking (Facebook moreso than Myspace these days)

Don't forget the bell curve. New York Post may have its pulse on Web 3.0 (whatever that may become), but the rest of the country (and the world) are not early adoptors -- they are right smack in the middle of the bell curve -- the common.

And when a tech things becomes common, that's when it becomes an unstoppable force.

I was a BBS geek and on the internet long before anybody else I knew in my circle (late 1980's, early 1990s). But now if you're NOT online, people think there is something wrong with you.

So, suffice it to say, blogging will remain a force and will continue to do so. What will the next big thing be? I suspect it'll be greater interactivity with the web. Right now, it's very limited and strange and awkward -- still too geeky for the majority of people to post a comment on a blog, although they will have no trouble forwarding an email now.
Udut, Kenneth on Jan. 4 2009 edit · delete
Brent Batten: Prepare to be Kreskin-amazed in 2009

By BRENT BATTEN (Contact) Originally published 5:31 p.m., Saturday, January 3, 2009 Updated 5:31 p.m., Saturday, January 3, 2009

NAPLES — The Amazing Kreskin’s predictions for 2009 come with a caveat:

They may not come true in 2009.

Kreskin, fresh off a corporate gig in Key West, took a few minutes late last month to look ahead, offering insights on politics, war, entertainment and the economy. He even threw in a few thoughts on what the future holds for Southwest Florida.

Claiming nothing more supernatural than the ability to observe human behavior and apply common sense and the lessons of history, George Kreskin Jr., has made a living on stage “reading” thoughts, finding hidden objects and generally amazing audiences.

Among his recent claims of success, correctly predicting the winner of last year’s Super Bowl and Barack Obama’s ascension to the White House.

What does 2009 (and beyond) hold in store?

“We’re going through a very serious economic problem,” Kreskin said, amazing no one. “The question is, how long will it last?” Exactly. Your answer, sir?

“Four and a half years.”

Yikes. What else?

“I do foresee the public with a lack of trust. I think it has increased at every level of government.” Again, duh.

But couple his second observation with his first and it leads to a third, much less obvious and much more fascinating prediction: The resurgence of Hillary Clinton as a presidential contender.

Obama may be in for a difficult first term, Kreskin says. Clinton, in spite of her position as secretary of state, could well challenge him for the Democratic Party nomination in 2012. File that one away. If it comes true, Kreskin’s “amazing” will be well-earned.

Staying on politics, Kreskin predicts the draft will be reinstated. A bad economy will mean few jobs for young people. A draft will give them a place to serve their country as opposed to sitting idle.

“Politicians have talked the draft to death but they’re going to have to do it,” Kreskin said.

Kreskin doesn’t foresee any attacks on the U.S. in the coming year, but he predicts a potentially devastating attack on New York City will be averted.

On to entertainment, Kreskin says Hollywood will be moving out of Hollywood. The new capitals of the movie industry will be India and, of all places, Connecticut.

Look for train travel to make a comeback in the United States. It’s a more comfortable and economical way of travel. The extended train trip phenomenon will offer an opportunity for out-of-work entertainers, he adds, no doubt delighting the likes of Shecky Greene and Jackie Mason.

And send in the clowns. “I can see a future in the U.S. for clowns,” Kreskin said. In down times, people like to be made happy. Clowns do that. Expect clowns to become fixtures in hospitals, where their non-verbal humor will indeed be recognized as the best medicine.

Not interested in clowning for a living? “There will be a need for skillful bartenders. People tell things to a bartender they won’t tell to a priest or a therapist.”

Tough times will lead to simpler times, Kreskin believes. “In the U.S., the rediscovery of the center of the home at the kitchen table,” he said.

“We are seeing a crisis with the shopping malls. Sad as that is, we’ll see the return of the mom-and-pop store.”

Places like Southwest Florida, which rely on tourism and seasonal populations, will see changes in the coming months and years, Kreskin predicts. Fewer tourists will come, but those who do will stay longer. Similarly, more part-time residents will choose to stay permanently. “People are not going to be shifting spots as often once they are comfortable and comfort is based on the people they surround themselves with.”

What about the Super Bowl? Kreskin isn’t going there, at least not in this interview. He tends to write such predictions down, put them in a secure location and have someone else open them after the event. Maybe it’s because it allows some after-the-fact sleight of hand or maybe it is, as he says, a way of preventing people from wagering based on his prediction. “I don’t want anyone losing even $10 because of what I said. “You might have to write on my tombstone, ‘He was murdered by 3,000 people.”’


But if he turns out to be right about the recession, Hillary, the draft, Hollywood, trains, clowns and bartenders, we’ll stick with “Amazing.”

E-mail Brent Batten at
Naples Daily News Predicts Top Stories of 2009 Naples (local), Florida (state) and US (federal) People Predictions from the editors of the Naples Daily News