Well. What a year.

When the calendar turns and a new year arrives, the newspaper’s staff begins the process of producing the next edition of our annual series, this year called Stateline 2020.

Prior to that point we’re flying fast keeping up with the everyday news of the community, reporting what journalists euphemistically call the first draft of history. The pace doesn’t allow a lot of time for reflection.

So we always find it interesting as we begin planning for this series, and take that look back, coupled with a look forward to the coming 12 months. These are eventful times, filled with solid stories of a community on the rise. We are proud of the role we’ve played as storyteller, since the mid-1800s. This is home. We, too, love it here.

The edition this year follows the pattern of our redesign for Stateline 2019. It was a winner. Really. Stateline 2019 captured two first-place awards for best in editorial content and best in advertising from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. We hope our readers are as proud of these products, judged best in Wisconsin, as we are.

Here’s a brief breakdown on this year’s edition:

n Growing

The section looks at many of the Stateline Area’s most impressive economic development projects. There’s the huge Amazon distribution center under construction, and the four-story ABC Supply Co. office complex. There’s a plan to build a new riverfront stadium for the Beloit Snappers, and completion of the exceptional Beloit College Powerhouse, and much, much more.

n Working

This section features enterprises that contribute to prosperity through innovation and forward-thinking. Fairbanks Morse has landed more big Navy projects. Blackhawk Technical College trains the workforce of tomorrow.

n Playing

Leisure activities are plentiful, and this section features such options as gymnastics at the YMCA, yoga classes, youth football, youth hockey and much more.

n Living

Amenities add to Stateline Area enjoyment and educational opportunities, including Beloit’s aggressive literacy efforts, performances by the renowned Beloit Memorial Jazz Band, and professional baseball in the form of the Beloit Snappers.

Plus “Faces” profiles, “Milestones” notes od major events, “Memories” visuals and “Snippets” from Stateline Area businesses and organizations.

The best part about these books is the simple idea behind them, to show everybody why there’s so much to be proud of in our hometowns.

Optimism is contagious, and it’s all around us. The rate of growth for the community continues to be impressive as others find out what we’ve always known, that this is a fine place to live, work, raise a family and, yes, invest in tomorrow.

We thank all the sources who opened up to our journalists in the production of this content. We are humbled and grateful for the confidence placed in our staff by the many commercial advertising sponsors whose participation makes this project possible each year.

And allow us, as managers, to express our appreciation and admiration for the professionals at the Beloit Daily News who fit this very deep and difficult project into their busy schedules.

To our readers, we hope you enjoy the Stateline 2020 version of this long-running series. We are grateful you invite us into your homes, and wish you a happy and healthy 2020.

William R. Barth, Editor