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A look back at 2018 and predictions for the new year

Detroit Lakes Newspapers columnist Lynn Hummel recently published his fourth book, "The Last Word," a collection of some of his favorite columns from the past 40 years.

Another year almost gone. The ink just dried on my 2017-2018 review and predictions and here we are again — another year older and deeper in the swamp. The crystal ball is clearer this year than it ever was before, so pay careful attention.

First, the review and comment on some of the events of 2018.

HEROES OF THE YEAR: For the 16th consecutive year, the heroes of the year are the brave young men and women serving our country in the Armed Forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, South Korea and other dangerous spots around the globe. The casualties are getting to be fewer and fewer, but 11 died in the line of duty last year and there is still great tension in Korea, the middle east and Africa, so we're not out of the woods yet. We want all our people home and healed.

BAD NEWS: Hurricane Florence battered and flooded the Carolinas and Hurricane Michael, with winds up to 155 mph, smashed Florida's Panhandle then continued up to the Carolinas.

Then there were the horrible wildfires in northern and southern California, destroying thousands of homes, commercial buildings and wiping out entire towns. Many died in the hurricanes and fires. The natural disasters of 2018, including the recent terrifying earthquake in Alaska, were huge and heartbreaking. Gun violence is not a natural disaster and it can happen suddenly and anywhere. But it is huge and heartbreaking.

GOOD NEWS: We in the Midwest have escaped hurricanes, floods, wildfires and earthquakes. Put on a warm cap, shovel your snow and give thanks.

FAREWELL: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins' all star catcher and first baseman, retired at the end of the baseball season. Sad news. We will miss this down-to-earth Minnesota hero. He will eventually be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

MEN OF THE YEAR: Senator John McCain and former President George H.W. Bush both died in 2018. McCain was praised for his courage as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and his courage as a rare U.S. senator who was a straight talker and not afraid to speak out and buck the party line. There is nobody left in the senate like McCain.

George H.W. Bush was recognized as a gentleman for his decency and courtesy and his kinder and gentler administration which witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet system. He was respected by leaders all around the world. McCain and Bush are honored as men of the year for the great examples of statesmanship and courage they provided — examples nobody seems willing to follow.

A year ago in my predictions for 2018, I predicted that Mike Pence would be president of the United States before the end of the year. I was premature. Pence will be president before the end of 2019. Further, I predicted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would be named Person of the Year for 2018. Premature again. He will get the honor in 2019.

I predicted the 2018 elections would bring a new breed of politicians into office. The election of many women and young candidates proved me right, I believe. We will see if they change the no-compromise attitudes we have seen in the past. I believe we will bounce off the bottom.

I predicted the American-Mexican wall would not be built. Right. It won't be built in 2019 either, unless Mexico agrees to pay for it.

I predicted that more sexual harassers would be revealed and the offenders would lose their jobs. Correct. Les Moonves, CEO of CBS has lost his job and has forfeited a $120 million severance package.

And now, more predictions.

NIKKI HALEY: This former governor of South Carolina and successful ambassador to the United Nations is resigning her position at the end of the year and won't say why. She will make a very surprising and dramatic announcement in 2019.

TIPPING POINT: The Trump presidency will reach a tipping point in 2019 and will topple.

DRONES: Somebody's toy drone will bring down a commercial airliner in 2019.

MISTLETOE SOUP: One wife will take the mistletoe brought home by her romantic husband and make soup out of it. She'll call it a joke and they will live happily ever after.

ACTS OF KINDNESS: I predicted that acts of kindness and compassion would continue in 2018 but not be reported in the news. Good people are all around us. True. Just last Friday I was confronted with a dead battery at a most awkward time and place. A good friend immediately appeared by miracle, gave me a jump start and got me moving again. Stick with faith and optimism.

And finally, to you faithful readers, I thank you for your encouraging comments, calls and letters. You have no idea what a lift you provide. You seem better looking and smarter than ever. Happy New Year!