With 2011 arriving on Sunday, we thought we would make some bold and fearless predictions. We consulted a crystal ball, old leaves from our morning cup of tea, and some cards (sorry, we didn't have tarot) we found in the bottom of one of our desk drawers to see into the future.

Here's what we come up with:

Ÿ Work won't begin on the construction of the Jim Thorpe inter-borough bridge or the straightening of the S-curve in Route 54. I know. We're going out on a limb here. Both projects were talked about for years. But all our soothsaying devices are unanimous on this.

Ÿ Vice President Joe Biden won't put his foot in his mouth in the new year. You say this is impossible? Not really. He's learned from all the snafus he's had since becoming the veep. (Remember: "His mom lived in Long Island for 10 years or so. God rest her soul. And- although, she's- wait- your mom's still- your mom's still alive. Your dad passed. God bless her soul." -Biden, on the mother of Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, March 17, 2010.)

Ÿ The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series. It was 1908 when the Cubs last won the Series. I didn't get this from the tea leaves. I'm just going on the law of averages that sooner or later it has to happen.

Ÿ A major snowstorm will occur in February. It will be a plowable storm which will mean snow days for schools and excitable predictions leading up to it by meteorologists. Mark my word on this one!

Ÿ There will be a multi-million dollar lottery winner from our area. It will be someone who's poor, but shocks everyone by donating most of his or her winnings to the poor.

Ÿ Elvis will be spotted at Penn's Peak.

Ÿ Michael Vick will adopt a dog. He's prohibited by court from doing so as part of his probation restrictions, but the crystal ball says money overcomes almost everything - and Vick has a lot of it.

Ÿ We see a lot of smoke around Lehigh Street in the area of the Post Office in Jim Thorpe. It's not a fire. We gaze into the crystal ball and see that there is a lot of excited people in the vicinity of the smoke. Then things come in more clearly. It's another successful run of the steam engine on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway with more passengers than ever.

Ÿ Finally, we see the Pittsburgh Steelers winning the Super Bowl. Actually, this prediction isn't based on the crystal ball, tea leaves, or cards. Our editor is a Steelers' fan so we thought he'd like this prediction.

Let's see how many of these fearless predictions come true. National Enquirer, step aside for the REAL soothsayers.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com