From the meltdown of the world's stock markets to the election of Barack Obama, the news of 2008 was hardly predictable.

On Tuesday, Pamela Knouse, tarot master with West of the Moon in West Manchester Township, took a look into the future and offered her predictions on what to expect in 2009.

Knouse said Obama's inauguration will be a "sea of tears" for those who will watch the event across the country, if not across the world.

And the puppy Obama famously promised his daughters will be either a poodle or a goldendoodle, which is a golden retriever-poodle mix, Knouse said.
The economy

In an effort to combat raising unemployment, Knouse said, Obama's administration will have to start a program reminiscent of The New Deal.

"By the end of March beginning of April he will announce the first plans for the funding of work programs for the nation as unemployment funds deplete," Knouse predicted.

But, she added, it will take an addition four to six months before the programs have an effect.

There will also be more funding for public transit, and taxpayers can expect another tax stimulus, she said.

However, Obama and Congress won't see eye-to-eye on many issues, and it will take time to pass bills, she predicted.

The housing situation will improve, but the number of new home builds will not increase, she said. Prices for food, automobiles and other staples will fall, but gas prices will not.


Iraq and Afghanistan

Wars will continue to rage in Iraq and Afghanistan with no decrease in troop deployments. However, the Afghan theatre will see an increase of U.S. troops during the fall, Knouse predicted.

She said the "major happenings in the war" will occur in 2010.
York County

In terms of earthquakes --York County has had two, near Dillsburg, and felt a third this past weekend that was centered in Lancaster County -- Knouse said York County will be spared from major disaster.

A 2.8-magnitude quake will rattle the county in July, but a larger earthquake will occur northeast of the county at the end of May, she predicted.

The county's unemployment rate and economy will hold steady in the first half of the year and will improve in late 2009.

"This is just the beginning for us in York, as we will become a thriving economy starting this year with more and more to come," Knouse said.