For many years, it’s been a tradition at the Daily Telegraph to preview the upcoming year with a column or story on Jan. 1 predicting headlines we would like to see in coming months.

This year, the custom continues with headlines I’d like to see emblazoned across our front pages in the following 12 months.

From serious to silly, here are a few that come to mind:

— “Parkways authority loses toll battle with southern W.Va. lawmakers; no increase on the horizon.” Since this issue is now in the spotlight, this could be followed up with a related headline months down the road.

— “U.S. Supreme Court declares tolls paid by motorists on Interstate 77 following payoff of bond decades ago unconstitutional; residents to be reimbursed.”

The subhead would be just as good — or better;

— “High-ranking lawmakers who have controlled state government for years required to pay I-77 toll reimbursements out of own pockets.”

Impossible? Yes.

Pure fantasy? Absolutely.

But a nice daydream, nonetheless.

Now on to other fantasies:

— “Ordinary weed new miracle cure for wrinkles.” The fictional first paragraph: “The Food and Drug Administration has confirmed a weed commonly found in the southern West Virginia-Southwest Virginia region, will completely diminish wrinkles when mixed with water, ground into a paste and applied to the face.”

— “Scientists discover chocolate, ice cream, caramel sauce, peanut butter and cheesecake do not always cause weight gain; high-fat content of foods ‘cancel-out’ each other when eaten in certain combinations.”

— “No more treadmills? Inventor patents recliner that can ‘exercise’ muscles while individual watches TV.”

— “Public Service Authority given authority to OK costs for Italian-made handbags and shoes; prices expected to drop dramatically.” Yes, that one’s selfish — but it is honest.

Now on to more serious issues:

— “Dramatic legislation passed during 2006 session prompts economic boom in West Virginia.” Again, this could be a continuing story.

— “Manufacturing plants to bring thousands of jobs to southern West Virginia counties.”

— “Workers’ compensation debt, teacher’s pension paid off due to Mountain State’s flourishing economy; pay raises expected for all state employees.”

— “Prospering side-by-side with the state, private companies offer huge salaries, bonuses and other incentives to keep employees in Mountain State.”

And on the Virginia-side:

— “Lawmakers (finally) realize the jewel that is Southwest Virginia; invest millions in infrastructure and economic development incentives.”

— “Mussels show superior intelligence by understanding concept of Valentine’s Day; massive breeding takes places.” This, too, would require a follow-up.

— “Mussel population soars; species no longer endangered and sewer line project back on track.”

While wishful thinking may accomplish nothing but a smile, there are a few headlines I truly would like to see in 2006 — or soon after.

— “No indictments by Mercer County Grand Jury returned for child sexual abuse; officials praised for eliminating problem in area.”

— “2006 brings lowest number of arrests on record; economic rebound may have played a role, officials theorize.”

— “Record breaker! No homicides reported in southern West Virginia, Southwest Virginia in 2006.”

— “Drug problem plunges after federal government funds large number of rehabilitation centers in two Virginias.”

— “Anonymous philanthropist donates $1 billion to repair and upgrade roads, bridges in region; Slippery Spot on Route 52 finally fixed.”

— “Government ‘think tank’ finds solution to problems with mountaintop mining; compromise reached between coal companies, environmentalists.”

Finally, like many who have lost loved ones to these dreadful diseases, comes the headline I wish for every year.

— “Scientists discover cure for cancer and heart disease; in gesture of good will new medicine given to all patients free of charge.”

Yes, it’s doubtful this headline will be written this year, or next. But one can always hope.

Samantha Perry is managing editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at sperry@bdtonline.com.

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