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The arrival of a new year is a time for faith and optimism. The turn of the calendar forces us to seek hope in the future. The simple anticipation of a new year, with its welcome lengthening of days, demands both a period of rest and reflection, and a look ahead.

We were optimistic two months ago when we relaunched the Portland Phoenix, and the response from readers and advertisers has surpassed our expectations. We are proud of the stories we have published, from in-depth explorations of financial practices in Maine’s prisons, to an overview of the future of Long Creek Youth Development Center, to examining how some of Portland’s recent refugees are faring. We have built an Arts & Living section, and brought back the acerbic commentary of Al Diamon.

The response of readers to the return of an independent alternative newsweekly for greater Portland justified our optimism. They take the trouble to let us know if they can’t find us, and contact us with suggestions and story ideas. Our distribution system continues its march towards perfection, or at least improvement, but the papers can reliably be found at major supermarkets, and we are expanding our reach into coffee shops near you. And of course, we are available 24/7 online.

This success has come with a small staff of seven dedicated people, who have worked hard to launch our fledgling business. To give them a break, we are taking a week off. Our next issue will be Jan. 8.

This year ends in a national political and partisan stalemate over only the third president to be impeached, ramping up to the most important election of our lifetimes in November. It is a challenging time nationally and in Maine, where 2020 will also bring resolution to many issues for the Portland City Council and the state Legislature.

But we’re looking forward to it. We thank you for helping us build the new Portland Phoenix, and helping to justify our own optimism. Happy New Year.