Battered and bruised.
That's the way the community feels after approval this week by both sides of a new contract between the Alpena Public School District and its teachers.
Finally, the long and contentious war of words, differing philosophies and juggling of numbers is over. A collective sigh of relief almost seemed audible in the community.
In negotiations like this there are no winners - only survivors.
There are no winners because too many accusations have been made, too many fingers have been pointed and too many perceptions have been floated so that true or not, they appeared a reality.
The teachers, obviously were the most affected. Theirs was the "skin in the game," thus they had every right to be heard. So too were other unions and the administration, as what was being asked of the Alpena Education Association fell right in line with that which had been requested of other bargaining units.
Ultimately, however, these negotiations also involved every student, every parent, every grandparent, every taxpayer in the district. And with every day there was no contract, every day there was no resolution, there was a little less optimism and a little less hope.
It is our desire that beginning today, the healing can begin.
Walls that were built need torn down, fences need mended and apologies need shared.
Alpena Public Schools always has offered quality education and life skills that prepares students well for the future.
So it will continue again when a new school year begins in September.
It's time to heal. It's time to make amends. It's time to move forward.