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This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Read all about it (ahead of time)

Time again to prime the pump for a Slice annual feature: Predict next year’s headlines.

Or is it write the headlines we would like to see? You can decide for yourself.

But here are a few 2017 themes you might want to address.

The Spokane Police Department, the NCAA basketball tournaments, Riverfront Park, 2017 concerts in Spokane, revolving door for Spokane TV news, restaurants open/close, stores open/close, Spokane drivers and winter, fire season 2017, Spokane Valley’s existential struggle with its identity, 25 years of The Slice column, wheat farmers face an uncertain future, adventures of local officials we elected, business news, the Marmot Lodge makes a bold move, crime of the year, small town Inland Northwest, Spokane area children make us believe the future might be OK.

Be sure to share your phone number.

The empty chair at the table: It’s not really something new.

But have you noticed the increasing trend toward using festive gift bags for wrapping Christmas presents?

Some of them are quite elegant. And they can be used again and again.

Of course, my late father would never have approved. His philosophy when it came to wrapping Christmas presents was tape, tape and more tape – however much was needed to do the job.

My mother, like many who didn’t own stock in 3M, could wrap gifts and leave pristine borders and perfect corners. Presents she had wrapped were easy to open.

But defeating my father’s singular wrapping efforts required a fair amount of scissorwork, yanking and merciless gouging.

It was like freeing a book or sweater from a form of yule bondage.

Opening a present he had cinched up proved to be excellent training for doing battle with clamshell packaging years later.

I might be exaggerating. But not much.

And it’s funny. I’m sure the presents he gave family members over the years were generous and thoughtful. In fact, I know they were. But what I really remember is the tape.

What quirky behavioral traits or aspects of someone’s personality do you recall at this time of year?

Today’s Slice question: When this Eastern Washington statehood nonsense comes up every now and then, does it occur to anyone over here that Western Washington would no doubt love to jettison us (the poor relations) and keep more of its own money?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. When I was a kid, I liked it when Christmas fell on Sunday because it meant not having to go to church an extra time.

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