Mark Twain once said the passing of the old year into a new year is the time when everyone smokes his last cigar, takes his last drink and swears his last oath.

If the great American writer meant we have to take stock of what we have lost, it is appropriate for 2016.

People who died: David Bowie, the Thin White Duke, in January, and Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia, in December. Both left us too early.

In between: Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Maurice White, George Kennedy, Keith Emerson, Garry Shandling, Prince, Muhammed Ali, Anton Yelchin, Gene Wilder, Arnold Palmer, Shimon Peres, Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn, Leon Russell, Sharon Jones, Fidel Castro, Peter Vaughan, Greg Lake, John Glenn, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael and Richard Adams. And a day after Carrie Fisher, her mother, Debbie Reynolds. All will be mourned and missed by a generation of history lovers, sports fans, readers and moviegoers.

It was a year of political turmoil, vicious terror attacks, the breakout of the Zika virus and global unrest. Locally, some good things happened in 2016.

Jobless rates fell in Greene and Columbia counties. Waterfront development on both sides of the river got boosts from Crossroads Brewing in Catskill and the Wick Hotel in Hudson. The Hudson Bluehawks football team went to the state finals. Significant films and TV series were shot in Greene and Columbia counties. Teen pregnancy rates plunged. Young people volunteered more than ever. Police began to make inroads in the heroin epidemic.

In November, Donald Trump was elected president and the world groaned. A month later, "La La Land" opened and the world cheered. That was 2016.

Happy New Year! And let’s hope for a better 2017.

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