This time last year, the dark clouds of a choking economy surrounded the eye of the 2008 holiday season. This year appears to bring more of the same. However, while it may be easy to get lost in the depths of these challenging times, there are still countless reasons in our lives to give thanks. In a time when our newspaper headlines read like obituaries, I thought it would be fitting to shine light on some of the positive notes I have noticed in the first 11 months of the year.

Our economy, with its two left feet, continues to stumble over a variety of problems on a national scale. However, on a local level, there are plenty of highlights to brighten up our communities if we would only take the time to recognize them. As winter sets in and the time for counting our blessings approaches, I have made a conscious effort to embrace, as the old adage goes, an “attitude of gratitude.”

Here in Northern Nevada, I have recognized substantial progress and I believe a lot of it is worth noting. For instance, our community should be thankful for the success that our new downtown ballpark has brought. Many Renoites were concerned about the extraordinary amount of effort it would take to ensure the Reno Aces had their own baseball field this past season. But, thanks to the support of local businesses and patrons, many now view the venture as a tremendous success. Let us all look forward to many more successful seasons for our brand new baseball stadium and all it brings to the vibrant downtown area.

The Legends at Sparks Marina project really found its footing in 2009. The new shops, restaurants and weekly events continue to provide a much-needed dimension to the area.

The Grand Sierra Resort has embraced fine dining and Chef Charlie Palmer now oversees Fin Fish, Briscola and Charlie Palmer Steak—all of which are frequently filled with patrons. Briscola deserves a special recognition for replacing Dolce, which was not performing, and bringing truly some of the best Italian food I have ever tasted to our area. At the Atlantis, the spa underwent expansive renovations and made some exceptional improvements. I have visited spas all over the country and I really feel that we now have something special with the Atlantis Spa. They employ one of the most courteous staffs I have encountered. Plus, the Atlantis Spa caters to the community by offering special discounts to locals.

From a business standpoint, I would like to express my thankfulness to all of the support from clients and friends of ELP Capital, Inc. 2009 brought about a number of challenging obstacles and our team has remained focused on moving forward. Recently, through working with our talented investment group, we were able to invest in 96 finished lots in Sparks. We partnered with local builders to put people back to work and also to provide opportunities for people to own houses at prices that have never been seen in that specific area. A special thanks goes out to all of our investors who have stuck beside us through these difficult times. We continue to appreciate all of the developers and joint ventures that help us uncover opportunities and keep us all looking forward. Here is to solid returns in the future.

I am thankful that our Powell Perspective is now in its ninth month of publication and reaches over 7,000 readers. I believe we have the pieces in place to double, triple and quadruple our readership in 2010. Thank you for your continued support and for providing the feedback necessary to make improvements to our newsletter and its accompanying videos.

Earlier this year I was able to release “Standing in the Rain: Understanding, surviving and thriving in the worst financial storm since the Great Depression.” It has been well received in a number of circles and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to read it.

To all of my friends and family, 2009 would never have been the same without you. You all continue to bring excitement into my life. Happy Holidays everyone.